Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
It's as well written as one would expect from the New Yorker. But again we have the usual conventional wisdom from an English-language journalist (do they learn it by rote?):

The country has stalled. Its growth is minimal. Its protectionist policies are disastrously out of touch with the global reality, let alone with the realities of the European Union, which it helped to found and enlarge (and then to undermine, in 2005, when it voted against an E.U. constitution). Its business, beyond the realm of luxury labels and designer clothes that the rich will always pay for, is not competitive. Its fear of the market is endemic, although, to be fair, that fear involves a reluctance to import the kind of social attrition it sees in America now. Attrition, of course, takes many forms, and the French form can be just as punishing: an unemployment rate of more than eight per cent, and as much as forty per cent in the big housing projects and immigrant neighborhoods where most of the country's five or six million Muslims, the majority of them second- and third-generation French citizens, live. In the fall of 2005, thousands of young men from those projects--or, as the people who live there call them, les cités--took to the streets for a month of unabated rioting, to protest the lack of jobs, and even the prospect of jobs, in the land of "liberty, equality, and fraternity." (Part of the problem is education; the rest is simply French xenophobia and racism.) Yet there is still so much resistance to economic reform--"reform," in France, is a code for "Mrs. Thatcher"--that Sarkozy has been the only candidate willing to admit that the country will have to accept layoffs in the private sector, and reduce a massive public sector that eats up nearly forty-five per cent of the national budget.

If you can go along with that, I suppose there's not much difficulty to going along with this:

Bayrou's idea--to create a pro-Europe, pro-market, social-democratic parliamentary bloc: a party, really, that would draw its membership from progressives on the left and the right--was new, and appealing.

The journalist seems to have spoken (beyond candidates) with Christine Ockrent, Bernard Kouchner, and Alain Duhamel (the latter two openly pro-Bayrou). Unsurprisingly, she comes through with a dreamy-eyed version of Bayrou's intentions.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 16th, 2007 at 04:47:51 PM EST

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